I really enjoyed the movie National Treasure with Nicolas Cage. In that movie they discover a pair of glasses with some very special lenses that allowed them to read the treasure map on the back of the Declaration of Independence.
We all develop our lenses through years of experiences, learning and observing. The lenses that I’ve developed through the years tend to be focused on leadership style, team building, decision making and other dynamics of leadership teams. When I see what appears to be strange, unexplainable or dysfunctional behavior I’ll often flip the “blue” lens in place or maybe I need to add the “red” lens to the mix so that I can see a deeper image. The point is that with the right lens we can see and understand behavior and dynamics in most situations.
You might be a jerk…
But what happens when you don’t have the right lens or haven’t developed the lens you need to understand a particular situation?
There are too many times during a team meeting, especially a team under the stress of making a right decision during difficult conditions. when in a whisper or a side conversation I’ll hear someone say “What a jerk.” Nobody intends to be a Jerk. No one is sitting there trying to think about how royally could they screw up this decision making process. They’re not being a jerk, they’re just looking like a jerk through your lens. Try flipping down your “blue” lens to see how a particular temperament might react or behave in this situation. Maybe it begins to look more normal and understandable and not look like being a jerk. Still doesn’t explain all the behavior? Try flipping down your “red” lens to see how that temperament might behave under extreme pressure or maybe add the “green” lens to see what happens when that particular temperament finally hits the breaking point. Now that may not excuse the behavior but it sure explains it and helps us figure out how to support our colleague through these pressure moments.
I’m going to start a series titled “You might be a jerk if.. to talk about those moments when it seems like someone is being a jerk but in reality they’re simply performing in a manner that any person of their temperament type might behave under similar circumstances.
My goals are to:
- Help you develop new lenses to see behavior in a new way and not write it off simply as someone being a jerk.
- Give you new tools to help team dynamics improve overall.
- Help you and others perform better under pressure
- Prevent the breaking points when someone reacts in a way that makes it difficult to recover even with the best of efforts.
You might be normal if…
Hopefully we’ll change those opportunities from “you might be a jerk” to “you might be normal” and here’s a healthier way to work that adds value to both the individuals and the whole team.
Stay tuned to “You might be a jerk if …”